Men’s gymnastics falls short

BY NICK GANS | MARCH 08, 2010 7:30 AM

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For 31 years, Iowa men’s gymnastics head coach Tom Dunn had shaped Iowa gymnastics into a perennial power.

On Sunday, Dunn coached for the last time in Iowa City when his eighth-ranked Hawkeyes hosted No. 3 Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Senior Day. Iowa provided Dunn and the seniors with memorable routines and its best performance of the year thus far, but the Hawkeyes fell short, 357.500-346.600.

“We had a very good team performance as a whole and a bunch of [season] records,” Dunn said. “That’s something I’ll remember most about the meet today.”

Team captain and senior Jon Buese said the team didn’t approach the meet any differently, but the members knew the meet would be more special for their head coach than past ones.

The Hawkeyes started the meet in symbolic fashion, with team captain and senior Reid Urbain tying Iowa’s season high and setting a personal best of 15.100 on the floor exercise. His routine helped Iowa achieve a new team-high score of 58.950.

Urbain suffered a concussion during his most recent floor exercise routine at the Pacific Coast Classic, but he said he refused to let that affect him on Sunday.

“Anytime you get an injury, it’s in the back of your mind,” he said. “Sometimes that just makes you go more aggressive, and that’s when bad things happen.”

Junior Ben Ketelsen also set new season-highs on the vault (15.900) and parallel bars (14.100). The Lancaster, Ohio, native credits his performance on the vault to a change in his routine.

“I’ve been training each individual skill more than I’m used to doing,” he said. “I’ve been focusing on the double full maneuver and been cleaning it up a lot in practices.”

In the rings, Hawkeye freshman Broderick Shemansky was quick to leave his mark on the Iowa record books, tying the school record with a score of 14.800. The team score of 58.100 was the highest of the season.

Senior Joel Snyder and junior Mike Jiang set individual season highs on the horizontal bars with identical 14.400 scores, good for second overall at the meet.

Even though the Hawkeyes set personal and season records against Illinois, there was one event that proved detrimental to Iowa once again.

“We just haven’t gotten over the hump in the pommel horse. We’ve made the same mistakes we’ve made throughout the season [Sunday],” Dunn said. “But we have some good pommel-horse performers, so we’ll find the right combination and keep pushing the rest of the year.”

With only two meets left this year before the Big Ten championships, the Iowa seniors said they have started to appreciate their remaining time at Iowa and pushing to leave their mark on Hawkeye gymnastics.

“Senior Day was a little sad. I’ll miss it for sure,” Urbain said. “It was fun, and I had a blast. I’m not going to get too sad about it now. We still have more meets to go.”

The Hawkeyes will return to action on March 13 against No. 4 Minnesota.

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